Northern Virginia gets some relief from congestion on westbound I-66

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In the second major transportation announcement of the day, the governor’s office said Northern Virginia could look forward to some relief in congestion with tonight’s opening of a new, two-mile auxiliary lane on westbound I-66 in Arlington County

The first of three improvements on westbound Interstate 66 inside the Beltway is scheduled to open at 7 p.m. tonight. The new acceleration and deceleration lane between Fairfax Drive and Sycamore Street has been lengthened to form a continuous auxiliary lane between the two ramps. The $14 million improvement also includes a 12-foot wide shoulder capable of carrying traffic during emergency situations. The project took 18 months to complete.

Future spot improvements are planned from Haycock Road to Westmoreland Street and from Lee Highway to Glebe Road. The projects are designed to reduce congestion and travel times during peak periods and to increase safety by lengthening merge areas. The estimated cost for the second and third improvement projects is $49.6 million.  These are expected to be funded after an I-66 multimodal study is completed next year.

The announcement about I-66 by Gov. Bob McDonnell, followed by an earlier announcement Monday that a public-private partnership has formed to build a second Midtown Tunnel in Hampton Roads,  comes on the eve of the 2011 Governor’s Transportation Conference Wednesday in Norfolk.  State Secretary of Transportation Sean T. Connaughton, Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez and other transportation, and legislative leaders will meet at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott Hotel for two days to focus on the direction of transportation in Virginia. McDonnell will address the conference Thursday.  “With our nearly $4 billion transportation plan advanced by the General Assembly earlier this year, the public and private sector are working together to make critical investments in Virginia’s roads, rail, transit, port, aviation and spaceport,” McDonnell said in a statement.



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